Category Archives: Seattle Symphony Orchestra

Connected Through Music

SSO Legacy lunchYesterday Ken and I attended the Seattle Symphony Musical Legacy Society luncheon at Benaroya Hall.  As always it is inspiring to connect with people who care about music and about making it accessible to all.  The program focused on a young high school composer, Will Langlie-Miletich, who had written a piece for a string quartet and got to hear it for the first time performed live along with us. We also heard two original lullabies that two homeless mothers had written associated through a Mary’s Place project performed by vocalist, Amy Bokanev, and finally an enthusiastic LinkUp instrumental and vocal performance by Northshore Christian Academy.

Since I have believed for many years that we have a societal duty to not only help support the basic needs of food and shelter for those less fortunate, but that we also should have the desire and duty to “feed the soul”. The programs that the Seattle Symphony presented yesterday were doing just that for people who otherwise might not have access to music.

Mary's place kidsThe Musical Legacy Society will help ensure that these programs can be continued into the future.  And as always, we enjoyed seeing other Seattle Symphony family members whom we have gotten to know over the years including Llew Pritchard, Bob & Clodaugh Ash, Cynthia Bailie, Marilyn & Reid Morgan, Julia & John Shaw and Nancy & Russell Fosmire.

A Hot Spot for a Dinner Party

Earlier this week, Ken and I were invited to join Leslie & Dale Chihuly at their Chihuly Boathouse and Hot Shop for a small dinner party to welcome new Seattle Symphony Orchestra Executive Director, Simon Woods, who is coming from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and will be joining SSO fulltime in May.

Leslie Chihuly, Ken & Cathi Hatch

John Pohl & Simon Woods

When we arrived, long-time Chihuly associate, Billy O’Neill, was serving as the designated bartender in the Hot Shop.  Dale’s crew were hard at work blowing “feathers” for a chandelier they were working on.  Joey Kirkpatrick was working with the crew to add a colorful glass wrap and shape the feathers while Tom Douglas was the designated chef for the evening.

Joey Kirkpatrick

When we were seated for dinner, I was seated next to Dale and though we both like truffles, we share the secret dislike of truffle oil drizzle which is so popular right now.  Other than the hint of truffle oil in the salad course, the dinner was absolutely delicious and beautifully prepared and served.  It was fun to talk with Jon & Elizabeth Roberts, Sherry & James Raisbeck, Jane Zalutsky, Susan & John Pohl, Leo van Dorp and the rest of the guests.  Jon Roberts was constantly on his Blackberry checking on their puppy that had just eaten a bag of Valentine candy and was at the vet being checked out.  Happily, it turned out that she was okay.

Dale & Leslie Chihuly, Tom Douglas

It will be interesting to watch all the changes at the Seattle Symphony over the next several months with Simon, the new Executive Director just beginning to take on the administrative management reins at the same time that Jerry Schwarz retires from his long-time role of Music Director and Ludo Morlot prepares to fill his shoes as Music Director Designate.  Chairman of the Board, Leslie Chihuly, is doing a fantastic job of helping the organization and all of its constituents work through the transitions.  She and the entire SSO Board of Directors will definitely have their hands full!

Dinner in the Evelyn Room 
First Course
Carrot Soup
Curried Pistachios
Second Course
Winter White Salad,
 Belgian Endive, Aged Parmesan, Truffle Oil
Entree Course
Coriander Grilled Tenderloin,
Braised Artichokes,
Nepitella Mint and Shallot Salad
Dessert Course
Tom’s Triple Coconut Cream Pie

Jerry’s 28th Opening Night Concert & Gala

Last night, Ken and I attended the Seattle Symphony Orchestra Opening Night Concert & Gala honoring Maestro Gerard Schwarz in his farewell season as SSO Music Director.  Ken and I both think so highly of Jerry and wife Jody, that we wanted to be there for a spectacular evening featuring mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves and cellist Julian Schwarz, as well as the Benaroya Hall debut of the Maestro’s own composition, The Human Spirit.

Ruth Gerberding, Dave Davis, Bill Gerberding

The concert was truly spectacular as promised with two world premieres.  In addition to Jerry’s, The Human Spirit, which featured the Northwest Boys’ Choir, Seattle Girls’ Choir and more, the orchestra also performed composer in residence, Samuel Jones’ world premiere of “Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra” featuring Jerry & Jody’s son, Julian SchwarzJulian, who is now taller than his father and critics say “is destined to rank among the major cellists of the 21st century” was extraordinary.  I was astonished watching his amazing artistic skill and thinking how quickly times passes, remembering that I attended his bris when he was only a few days old.

Jane Davis & Ken
Following the concert, we caught up with long-time friends, Jane & Dave Davis and Ruth & Bill Gerberding over cocktails and then joined SSO Board Chair, Leslie Chihuly, at her table for dinner with friends Patti Payne, Betty Tong, Tom Barstow, Leo van Dorp and Linda Stevens.  We both especially enjoyed the toasts and tributes to Jerry and the photo slides of various stages in his life.  Our lives are intertwined, but that is an opportunity for another blog post later.
Patti Payne & Betty Tong
Meanwhile, we look forward to enjoying his farewell season along with his vast number of supporters and friends.

A New Music Maestro

Over the weekend, Ken and I were pleased to meet the new Music Maestro for the Seattle Symphony Orchestra who will take on the leadership of SSO, when our dear friend, Jerry Schwarz, retires at the end of next season.  SSO Chairman of the Board, Leslie Chihuly, hosted a reception at the Chihuly Boathouse for Seattle Symphony board members to meet new SSO Music Maestro, Ludovic Morlot.  As a SSO Lifetime Trustee, I am thrilled to see what the next chapter will bring.
We arrived at the Boathouse right behind a car with a family with two young girls  who were welcomed by the valet right in front of Ken and me.  Ken said “”Who would be bringing children to meet the new Symphony Director?” and his question was answered in moments when we entered the Boathouse and met the Morlot family.  It turned out that the family who had arrived right before us was Ludovic Morlot, a charming man who arrived with his beautiful wife, Ghizlane and two young daughters Nora and Iman.
Of course, the SSO family was warm in their reception to him and enjoyed the time to get to know him one on one.  Once Leslie asked him to speak and he shared his vision of what he hoped to bring to the Seattle Symphony, his daughters decided to sit down on either side of KenLudovic told us that he has a special affinity for French music but said that he plans to present all kinds of beautiful and romantic music.  We also heard from Ludovic that Nora plays the violin and that Iman plays the cello.  Iman, his youngest daughter, showed her potential dance abilities as she continued to do turn after turn using Dale’s 88 foot downed Douglas Fir log table as a ballet barre during her father’s remarks.

Play Me a Tune, Mr. Piano Man

On Sunday, Ken and I were treated to a small afternoon Seattle Symphony Orchestra “Conversation, Cocktails and Repartee” reception at Barney Ebsworth’s beautiful home on Hunt’s Point to meet composer, Marvin HamlischSSO Board Chairman, Leslie Chihuly greeted us and we were so pleased to see our old friends, SSO Maestro Jerry Schwarz and his wife, Jody.  Also attending were friends, Jane and Dave Davis, Janet Ketcham and our soon-to-be neighbors, David Hovind and Shelley Kuni.
After spending a little time talking with many of the guests and co-hostess, Judith Fong, and viewing Barney’s incredible art collection, we were invited to join Marvin around the grand piano.  He told some funny stories including one about trying to see if he could get teenagers interested in listening to his pops style music.  He spoke to them in his dressing room prior to a concert and told them that they were welcome to join him backstage after the concert if they liked it.  He assumed that there might be no takers, but was pleasantly surprised when all 40 teenagers were there to see him after the concert.  He was thrilled that the difference between the responses he received from his regular concert-goers who would say “God bless you!”  and the teens who told him his concert was “Awesome!!”
He then played several of his well-known compositions on the piano including a medley from “A Chorus Line” and not surprisingly, the music was upbeat and toe-tapping and it was fantastic to watch his fingers fly across the keyboard.  What an amazing talent he is!  Jerry later told me that he has earned more honors and awards than any other composer in history with the possible exception of Leonard Bernstein.